- How long have you been in the industry for?
I have been shooting for almost 3 years now. I would say professionally for 2. The first year, I would say, is to get practice and learn the field.
How did you get into wedding photography?
Here is an awesome blog that tells you my story of how I got started https://nc-photography.ca/archives/5. But basically, I love love and happened to be good at capturing it. Someone trusted me enough to give me a chance on their big day, after that wedding I booked 15 more.
How long have you been shooting weddings for?
I have been shooting wedding since August 2009 so 2 full years. I have shot over 30 weddings since then.
Do you shoot any other genres (e.g. commercial, portrait, etc)?
I do shoot portraits, engagement sessions, and boudoir sessions. I try to stay as much to couples as possible as that is where my focus is and what I love the most.
If you have photographed other genres, how do you think it affects how you shoot weddings?
As mentioned, because I try to stay focused to couples it helps me relate to them more. I try and stay focused around the same form of photography. It keeps me grounded and consistent.
How many weddings do you shoot a year?
It has been averaging out to about 15 weddings a year. I shot 15 in 2010, 15 in 2011 and have 12 booked as of now for 2012 with inquiries coming in already for 2013.
Do you only shoot weddings in Edmonton, or do you do shoot weddings abroad?
I am located in Edmonton but am available for Wedding Photography world wide. I have had the opportunity to shoot weddings in Mexico (twice), Florida, and Los Vegas. I am scheduled to head to the Dominican in November of 2012. I absolutely love Destination Weddings, they are fabulous.
Do you have a favorite wedding you shot? If so, why was it your favorite?
Before this season I would have said no because every wedding has a special place in my heart and every wedding is beautiful. However, this season I had a wedding with a bridal party of 22. There was tons of bling, lots of fabulous bridesmaids and handsome groomsmen. On top of that, the bride and groom where to die for. It is absolutely my favourite wedding so far. I find that I love anything unique and different. Something to add to the day and make it special and different.
What is your favorite part of a wedding to shoot? And why?
My favourite part of a wedding…well there are two. I love capturing all of the details of the event. The rings, the dress, and the shoes. I find all of it so fascinating and I love how different every bride is. Aside from the details, formals are my favourite part by far. It is a time where I get to be creative, and spend some close and personal time with the couple and their close friends. So much fun!
Do you have any memories that stand out, from when you were photographing a wedding?
That is a hard question. There are so many memories that come from so many weddings. From watching the father shed a tear for his beautiful daughter, to the hilarious speeches at the reception. There are so many memories made at weddings that is it just too hard to remember them all. I can tell you though that I cry at pretty much every single one of them.
How much (roughly) do you charge for a wedding? Do you offer packages?
My wedding packages go from $2500-$3500. Each package offers a little bit more time. Every day is so different, and everyone needs different things. I try to be as accommodating as possible for every couple out there.
Do you feel that your pricing is fair?
I absolutely feel my pricing is fair. When I sit down and do my pricing module for the year, I make sure that if I were my own customer, would I be happy with that pricing for what I am getting. I am a rare photographer in the sense that I offer all of the images on a DVD. Some, if not most, photographers charge for their time and then also for prints that you have to buy through them. I think that getting all of your photos on a disc for your printing pleasure, is absolutely worth what I charge.
How much have you invested into your business (a rough amount on equipment, number of hours/years spent learning techniques, classes taken, seminars, etc)?
How much time do you have? Photography is a business where you need to know a lot. You need to know marketing, how to use your equipment, how to run a website, how to process photos, how to treat customers, how to design albums, and how to make a business plan. There is so much that goes into being a photographer. I can tell you that I own probably $30,000 in equipment. Keeping in mind you will also need a computer, burner, external hard drives ect; All of the fun extras that you must have to run the business. I have been fortunate enough to have been self taught. I have not taken a class, course, or seminar on photography. I have spent countless hours out shooting, doing free sessions to try things out, and practicing new techniques. Google, and You Tube can be your absolute best friend and THE best teacher.
What kind of equipment do you bring to weddings (Camera body, lens, flash, backup equipment, etc)?
EVERYTHING! I always have two bodies with me (Canon 5D MarkII), 2 external flashes, 4 batteries, 6 memory cards and about 7 lenses. I never leave anything at home thinking I might not need it. It is better to be over prepared than under.
Why do you think couples, planning on getting married, should hire a professional photographer?
When the dessert is gone, the decorations are taken down, the guests have all gone home; what do you have left? Photographs are something you will have forever. Something you can always reflect back on, and something that will always bring back that exact feeling you felt that day. Aside from the love of the couple, hiring a professional photographer is the most important part of a couples big day.
What do you, as a professional photographer, bring to the table (that a non-professional photographer does not)?
Professional vs. Non-professional has always been a really technical term for me. What and who decides what professional really means? All I can say is that with experience comes wisdom. With wisdom comes confidence. With confidence comes trust. My one rule that I tell all of my clients, you must TRUST your photographer. If you don’t, you haven’t chosen the right one.
How do you guarantee that every important moment at the wedding is captured?
Honestly, you can’t. There are distractions, there are gliches, it is life and we are all human. But what I can guarantee is that you will look through the images, I did capture, and be in awe of the moments you didn’t even know where happening. I do everything humanly possible to not miss a moment. Your memories are as important to me as they are you.
Do you use a secondary photographer?
Absolutely. The first year I shot weddings, I did them all alone. I was capable of this and I did a good job. Now that I have used a second shooter, and for the entire season, I refuse to not have one with me. They are so important to have to capture those candid moments, or to make sure nothing is missed, or to simply have another outlook on the most important day. Definitely, 100% every couple should have a second shooter.
How early should a couple contact you, in order to book you for their wedding?
I normally book a solid year in advance. As I mentioned earlier I am already getting inquiries for 2013 and it isn’t even 2012 yet.
What tips would you give a couple when it comes to picking the right photographer? How will they know that the photographer is the right fit for them?
Know what you want. Know what style you want. Know your price. I wrote a blog post on deciding on that one and only photographer https://nc-photography.ca/archives/275. It is so important that you not only love the photos you have seen in your photographers portfolio, but it is also important that you enjoy them as a person. You are going to spend 8-10,if not more, hours that day with them. You need to want to have them around and enjoy it. Do not settle. I truly think you can follow your gut on this one. You will feel when it is right and you will be so incredibly excited for what that photographer is going to capture.
How can you tell a couple will be the “right fit” for you?
I can tell you that I have had many inquiries that I have turned away because I could tell we just weren’t the right fit. You have to mesh. Your personalities and your style. You have to know that what they are looking for is what you can provide. Don’t try to give them a style that they want, they need to want what you offer. Again, follow your gut. This is a very important day, one that cannot be repeated or redone. Do not be too proud to tell someone you aren’t a right fit. Instead, help them find someone that might be a better one for them.
How long does it take you to process and edit the pictures from a wedding?
I say 6-10 weeks until the photos will be in their hands. Under promise, over deliver is my motto. My goal is always 4 weeks.
Any last thoughts?
I love what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world. The days are long, the nights editing are even longer. But the smiles on peoples faces and the joy I can bring to someone with a click of a button is absolutely priceless.